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1966 International VCO-195: In Need of a Tow


It’s not often you see the vehicle most commonly used to extract barn-ridden projects in need of a tow itself. This 1966 International Harvester here on eBay  is being sold by the driver who used it to ferry home stranded motorists. After its working life ended, it was driven to where it sits now and forgotten. This truck has lived many lives, previously being used as a cab-over-tractor that hauled loads on the New York State Thruway. The seller says the cab is rusty but it’s otherwise complete and loaded with usable parts. Personally, I’d like to see it returned to light use as a local garage’s work truck in a small town, but that’s probably wishful thinking. These old trucks had style, far more than the workhorses of today. What do you think should become of it – a parts source for a more deserving project, or restored to its former glory?


  1. jim s

    as stated in the listing this has air brakes which makes it hard to move and more costly to get back on the road. do you need more then a regular drivers license, because of the air brakes, to drive this? i think this will be parted out. i also think you all have a thing for cab forward trucks!

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    • Cassidy

      Yes Jim, you need a Class 2 or B license to operate a vehicle with air brakes.

      Here’s an idea for this truck:

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      • jim s

        thanks. i was thinking of selling the tow bed and parts. then install a stepside pickup bed, move the fenders to fit the wheels, remove the outside duels and have an interesting pickup. but the air brakes would have me still looking.

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    • Rustowner

      Jim S, why do you think it would be costly or hard to move just because it has air brakes? All big trucks are more costly and harder to move than light passenger vehicles, but air brakes are very simple, fairly fool proof, and easy to work on, hence the reason they are used in heavy trucks in the first place. Most air brakes use one of several common types of shoes, drums and brake chambers, which are suprisingly cheap and easily available. I wouldn’t be shocked if the shoes are seized on their pivots, or that mice had eaten the air lines or the canisters were leaking due to age, but most of the time, the other components work fine and are servicible. If charging the air up and banging on the shoes doesn’t get the brakes to release, there are tie bolts that slip into the ebrake chambers to manually retract them so the unit could be moved. I’d much rather deal with air brakes than hydraulic brakes, any day of the week.
      For most true air braked vehicles (not air over hydraulic), you’ll need to have a class A or B license.

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    • DonSkokie

      No you do not need a commercial license to drive a truck with air brakes in some states. I own two 1970 International Loadstar cabovers, a CO1800 and CO1600, both with full air brakes. With the state, Idaho, I have them registered as personal vehicles and as long as I am not over the 26k GVW or using them for business I’m fine. I have seen full semi trucks being driven for personal use. Most of them have a “Not For Hire” sign on the side to indicate to DOT that they are not commercial vehicles. Before I bough my first vehicle with air brakes I talked to the state DMV and to DOT to ensure I was within my rights to drive it as a personal vehicle.


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  2. Rick

    I want this, the Emoryville type cab is a classic coe look. I have had a commercial license for over 40 years and I recommend that anyone that can obtain one. You will never be sorry.

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    • Matt Tritt

      It’d make a better tow truck than a pickup, that’s for sure. It has to be rated as at least a 2.5 ton and the wheelebase is short as it was designed as a tractor. It might be pretty cool if returned to it’s original purpose with the right trailer – maybe for hauling cattle or bales of weed from Humbolt.

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  3. Howard A Member

    While this is cool, it is pretty tired. While I can’t seem to find much info on this truck, one site says, the VCO 195 was made from 1956 to 1972. The “V”, apparently, designated a V-8. It was used for everything from garbage packers to road tractors. These aren’t exactly rare, ( maybe they are, as who ever thought of saving one of these) and I’m sure a better example could be found. As far as returning it to a small town garage, good luck with that. Everything is new wheel lifts or rollbacks. I doubt we’ll ever go back to this style tow truck. Maybe a collector, for their personal collection.

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  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    I always liked the COE and VCO trucks. Personally I thought the version with the Red Diamond 6s were the neatest. I found the models with sleepers attached to be rather strange; it seemed that the designers had everything all set up then someone told them that they had to design a sleeper too. They looked like someone had stuck a steel box to the back of the cab. I believe International sold CO cabs to White. Howard?

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    • Howard A Member

      Hi geomechs, I know IH sold their V-line cabs to Diamond T, REO, and Hendrickson ( and probably some others). I think White always had their own cab. Although, before my time, drivers called those sleepers, “the coffin”.

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  5. Chris

    Hey guys,
    Just stumbled over your thread. I’m the owner and former driver of this old girl and I’m glad she has garnered the attention. Parked her 25 years ago for exactly the reason mentioned in a comment above. The towing configuration doesn’t allow it to pick up a modern truck. Fiberglass, aluminum, and carbon fiber doesn’t hold up too well against cold hard steel. That said although the Ebay ad is gone I still have it and it’s still available. I just exhausted my free listings for this year. Anyone interested can contact me. I will also part it out. I just won’t be able to start tearing it down until spring. All the components were 100% when parked.

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  6. Lockett

    This truck should be restored with a updated tow bed and wheel lift this is.a classic truck I think it should be restored

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  7. Chris

    In case anyone is interested we took some time to see if it would run. After 27 years all we had to do was free up a stuck starter solenoid. Here’s the results when hooked up to a fresh gas source. Everything else is exactly as parked. https://youtu.be/A0z_whdMumI

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  8. Scott

    That truck is awesome. I would totally put a stake body on that and use it as a landscape truck

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